3 1833 01084 7033
the Internet -
AUGUST 20, 1908
CITIZEN PRINTING HOUSE. IOW< CITT.
FORTY-SECOND ANNUAL MEETING
OLD SETTLERS' ASSOCIATION
OF JOHNSON COUNTY, IOWA
AT THE FAIR GROUNDS AUGUST 20, 1908
The forty-second annual reunion of the Old Settlers of
Johnson county is an event of the past. In recording the
event the officers of the association will state that the
reunion held at the log cabin Thursday afternoon was one
of the most successful held in the history. The weather
united with the efforts of the committees in making the
affair an enjoyable one. Following the public dinner, the
program, consisting of several numbers, was held. Rev.
Schwimley invoked the divine blessing. President
Charles Baker then spoke a few words and introduced
Woods White of Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. White is the son
of Dr. W. H. White, formerly of this city. He spoke of
recollections and made a very short informal talk.
Judge Wade was then introduced. He spent some
time in telling amusing stories and closed with a
glowing tribute to the manner in which the pion-
eers endured the hardships of the time in which they lived
and at the same time built up the community for their
children who are now following them. Matthew Cavan-
augh was called upon to read the letters written to the
association by those who intended to be here but were
unable to attend. Mrs. Hoxie read a familiar poem and
the program was ended.
Forty-second Annuol Meeting of the
The election of officers, which was held immediately
after the program, resulted in the choice of the following :
President — George R. Hall.
Vice President— M. S. Shircliffe.
Secretary — G. R. Irish.
Treasurer — H. J. Wieneke.
The following letters were read before the reunion by
M. Gavanaugh. They contain many interesting details
and are given in full :
Council Bluffs, Iowa, July 24, '08.
M. Cavanaugh, Mary 0. Coldren, Geo. W. Ball,
Dear Old Friends: — I assure you that nothing I know
of would give me more pleasure than to be present at the
"meeting of the Old Settlers of Johnson county," on
August the 20th. But from the present outlook am afraid
il will be impossible. My earliest recollections of Iowa
City and Johnson county, date back to September, 1841.
My father died there in 1845, and some of the sweetest
memories of my life are in the 25 years spent in old
Hoping you will have a full turn out, and a memorable
meeting, I am Yours truly,
ALPHONSO B. WALKER.
Aledo, Illinois, August 17, '08.
To the Committee of Old Settlers Association.
Gentlemen: — I am in receipt of your kindly remem-
Old Settlers Association of Johuson County
brance, the invitation to your annual meeting of Old
Settlers of J ohnson county, and I have delayed thus long,
thinking could arrange to be in attendance but find that
it will be impossible for me to do so.
I would be glad to look into the dear old faces and
speak my greetings to each one, as I would clasp their
aged hands and with thankfulness remember our heaven-
ly Father who has kept us so long, and a prayer that He
will continue his mercies and loving kindness in the years
to come, hoping they may be many.
Wishing for you a pleasant day and enjoyable coming
together, I am, Very cordially yours,
MRS. VIRGINIA HANBY WRIGHT.
Omaha, Nebraska, August 6, '08.
M. Cavanaugh, Mary 0. Coldren, Geo. W. Ball.
To the Hon. Committee of the Old Settlers Association
of Johnson county, Iowa, to be held at Iowa City, August
20th, 1908. Mrs. Dr. Henry Murray sends greetings and
best wishes for a good time.
My good husband and myself were at the organization
of the Old Settlers Association, and we always took a
deep interest in the annual meetings, and while we lived
there were always present. The infirmities of old age
forbids my bodily presence today, but my heart is with
When I came to Iowa City in 1841, a bride, all of the
now beautiful city north of Market street was a wilder-
ness. The principal business was on the two blocks at the
intersection of Clinton and Jefferson streets. And all
east of Johnson street was very wild. Beautiful College
street park was a wild strawberry patch and a rattle
Forty-second Annual Meeting of the
snake den. When memory turns back to these things,
and sees the wonderful changes that the years have
wrought it seems almost like a dream.
When I remember all the legion of dear friends of
these early days, who have one by one gone to the
shadowy land I feel almost alone, and think it very, very
kind and sweet of your committee on invitations to
remember me, whose home for over fifty years was in
Iowa City. But under force of circumstances was com-
pelled to make my home elsewhere.
Iowa City is always a loved spot, and very dear to my
heart, and its prosperity is always a gratification to me.
And now good friends, I wish you a jolly good time,
not only today, but for many years to come.
Very sincerely yours,
MRS. DR. HENRY MURRAY.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 3, 1908.
My Dear Friends: — I am very much indebted and
obliged for your kind invitation to be present at Old
Settlers meeting, August 20, 1908. I should be much
pleased to be with you and renew acquaintance with you
and so many whom I remember so kindly.
S. M. FINCH.
Rockaway, California, July 15, '08.
Hon. M. Cavanaugh: — My wife and family join me in
acknowledging receipt, and thanking you for the invita-
tion to the "Old Settlers" meeting, a place we would like
Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 7
to go, but circumstances are such we will not be able to
attend. We are enjoying the cool, invigorating air of the
Pacific and will be glad to welcome either of you should
you pass this way — and extend our regards to all the old
settlers, and tell them we hope they will have a pleasant
day and enjoy themselves as old settlers can.
HENRY N. BERRY.
Washington, D. C, August 12, '08.
Major Richard Sylvester presents his compliments and
best wishes to M. Cavanaugh, Mary 0. Coldren, George
W. Ball, committee, and to the old settlers of Johnson
county, Iowa, for their kind invitation extended to his
mother and himself to be present at the annual gathering
of the pioneers of Johnson county to be held on the 20th
day of August, 1908.
Major Sylvester is the oldest of forty-three grand-
children born in the state of Iowa, many of them grown
up to manhood and womanhood, and who have gone out
to engage in the battle of life in the various sections of
our country and carried with him the fondest recollections
of his birth place made doubly dear by reason of his
grandfather, Rev. Robert W. W. Woods, a former pioneer
in the settlement of the magnificent county of Johnson
and his father the late R. H. Sylvester, having started in
life as a newspaper man in Iowa City where he be-
came prominent for many years in the affairs of that
locality and for the further reason that from this country
many of his relatives went into the war of the rebellion
many years ago and since that time several of their num-
8 Forty -second Annual Meeting of the
ber have found resting places in the cemetery at Wood's
Major Sylvester feels it is a great disappointment that
he cannot be with you owing to circumstances over which
he has no control, but he sends greetings, best wishes and
assurances of his esteem for all those who may participate
and prays that they may have a profitable and enjoyable
time and he hopes that another year there may be afford-
ed him an opportunity to join with those friends of his
mother's and his own childhood days in their annual
Fishers Island, N. Y., July 28, '08
Dear Mr. Cavanaugh: — I have the pleasure of ac-
knowledging the receipt of your kind invitation for the
20th of August and I thank you most heartily for it.
As I take it this invitation is sent me, as the only living
representative of my father, who was one of the early
settlers of Iowa City. And yet in a sense I think I may
justify a recognition on my own account from the fact
that I was among the first of those who were born there.
The fact that I did not first see the light of day elsewhere
and afterwards emigrate to Iowa City, did not render me
any the less an early settler.
This circumstance of my birth in Iowa City gives me
» great affection for the place, and I confess that, though
the major part of my life has been lived elsewhere, as the
years roll on I find my thoughts turning more and more
to the old home of my boyhood, and I begin to feel that
1 should like to end my life there, where it began.
You can, therefore, understand how deeply your kind
Old Settlers Association of Johnson County
invitation is appreciated, and were it possible, I should
be glad to be present with you. It is possible that I may
be able to visit Iowa City this fall, but I regret that I will
not be able to be there early enough for the time desig-
nated for your meeting.
How many of the old settlers of pioneer days, contem-
poraries of my father, are now living I do not know, but
I am persuaded that the honor of being a pioneer is a
distinction that is not now lightly regarded, if I may
judge from what I have often noticed in the newspapers
of Iowa City. It seems to be the view of the editor, no
matter how recently his own residence there may have
begun, to regard it, that any one having preceded him in
such residence occupies a most enviable position, and is
justly entitled to be called a pioneer, evidently consider-
ing that to be one of the most honorable distinctions that
can be accorded. And so I have often noticed that the
death of such a resident is chronicled with headlines in
large type "Another Pioneer Gone." Although the ad-
vent of the deceased in Iowa City was long after the
pioneer period had passed. I have often wondered that
my esteemed friend, Mr. Gill Irish, who knows what the
real pioneer days were, has not, notwithstanding his great
amiability, raised the voice of protest, not that those who
came later are not appreciated, for they are deserving of
all honor, and we, (if I may say we) open wide the doors
and they may have every distinction within our recogni-
tion, save only one, that of pioneer. In time they may be
ranked as "Old Settlers," the older the better, and the
nearer they are to the pioneer the greater the distinction
to which they are entitled, but the supreme and highest
of all is, and must ever belong to him who led the way —
Again thanking you and regretting my inability to be
present, I am, Yours very sincerely,
THEO. F. SANXAY.
io I 'orty '-second Annual Meeting of the
Mr. Cavanaugh : — Your card of invitation to be present
at the annual meeting of the old settlers of Johnson
county is gratefully acknowledged.
That I cannot be present occasions much regret.
I may offer as a sentiment, may the inheritance so near
to the entire surrender of the "old settlers" into the
hands of their children and their foster children be kept
untarnished and sacred to the memory of tho noble men
and women whose life record bears no stain of dishonor.
J. S. PICKARD,
A Foster Son.
SOME OLD SETTLERS.
Frederick W. Hempstead of Newport Center was the
oldest person on the grounds at the picnic. He is past
94 years and has been a resident of this county for many
Mr. F. X. Rittenmeyer, aged 92, was the second oldest
resident. He will be 93 years of age in about two months.
Mr. Rittenmeyer came to this city in 1856 and was the
supporter of many enterprises. He was telling a story at
the picnic of his experiences with steamboats on the Iowa
J. K. Strawbridge who is 90 years of age, was also at
Sion Hill, aged 88, who came to the county in 183&,.
related some of liis experiences during the first celebra-
Old Settlers Association of Johnson County
tion of the 4th of July in 1839. He was also present at the
laying of the corner stone of the Old Capitol bnilding. :
Miss Hannah Ten Eyke, the first white child born in
Iowa City and William Dunkel, the first white boy born in
Iowa City were at the reunion.
W. N. Chalfant, Bryan Dennis and J. K. Strawbridge,
who are the only three survivors of the first 60 who signed
the constitution of the Old Settlers Association, were
In looking over the records of the organization it was
found that only ten of the first 110 signers are living.
The three mentioned above, together with J. P. Irish, Q.
R. McCrory, John E. Jayne, A. Beermaker, Jas. T. Rob-
inson, A. E. Swisher and Matthew Cavanaugh.
Among the other oldest settlers who were present at
the picnic were the following: Mrs. Ritter, aged 90, who
settled here in 1838; Mrs. Dennis, aged 82; Mrs. Tucker,
aged 93, who settled here in 1843; Mrs. Tantlinger, aged
74, who settled here in 1842; Jacob Stover, aged 85, set-
tled here in 1838; Henry Walker, aged 71, settled here in
1838; Garret Lancaster, aged 80, who settled here in
1838; Mrs. Le Grand Byington, aged 83, who settled here
in 1849 ; J. T. Robinson, aged 86, who settled here in 1840
and has been prominent in the political life of the county;
William Emmons, aged 70, who is now residing in Port-
land, Oregon; Samuel Spinden, aged 76, who settled here
in 1847; A. W. Beuter, aged 72 and settled here in 1848;
J. E. Adams, aged 75, and who settled here in 1855; Mrs.
Franklin Kimball, aged 83, and settled here in 1839;
Alex Huffman, aged 74 and who settled here in 1850;
Mrs. Joel Clark, aged 65, who settled here in 1844; M.
Cavanaugh, aged 76, who settled here in 1839; J. A.
Forty-second Annual Meeting of the
Stevenson, aged 84, who settled here in 1856. Mrs. Walter
Lee, Sr., of Chicago, the daughter of Prof. Parvin, was at
the picnic grounds.
Resolutions were adopted which thanked the retiring
officers and committees for the work done in preparing
for the reunion; Bruce Moore for making the delicious
coffee; the papers for the publicity and mention given for
the plans for the reunion; and to W. Hughes for the music
played during the day.
Those present who enrolled their names upon the books
of the secretary were as follows:
.John L. Adams
Ira J. Alder
J. E. Adams and wife
VVm. J. Bo wen
W. H. Buchanan
George T. Borland
John A. Burk
C). A. Byington
J. 0. Beck
W. 1). Cannon
Mrs. J. H. Clark
J. C. Cochran
Sarah P. Cropley
J. K. Corlett
David M. Dixon
L. D. Davis
Old Settlers Association of Johnson County
E. H. Ely
S. P. Fry
Annie M. Fry
S. H. Fairall
Isaac and Mrs. Furbish
R. B. Graham
W. A. Kettlewell and wife
A. G. Kent
George W. Koontz
C. F. Lovelace
J. J. Metzger
F. M. McReynolds
W. H. Mella
Mary E. Miller
Mary L. Miller
Bruce Moore and wife
M. J. Moon
Mrs. Joseph Michael
Mrs. R. J. Miller
J. W. Murphy
George W. Pinney
W. A. Pratt
Chas. H. Palmer
Iowa Byington Reed
F. X. Rittenmeyer
H. L. Rowland
James T. Robinson
Chas. E. Robinson
D. A. Reese
Mary M. Randall
W. A. Rohret
Mrs. C. M. Riley
A. A. Roegler
John A. Stevenson
J. W. Schell
A. E. Swisher
Esther E. Hunter
R. P. Howell
A. R. Hedges
G. R. Hall
Chas. Huebner and wife
J. R. Hughes
T. D. Hughes
Mrs. Mary Hemphill
George A. Hitchcock
O. C. Hill
L. W. Hardin
Mrs. C. W. Irish
Miss Elizabeth Irish
Mrs. G. R. Irish
G. R. Irish
John E. Jayne
Samuel C. Jones
O. A. Byington
Joseph E. Stouffer
N. W. Scales
M. S. Shircliffe
Euclid Sanders and wife
Frank Stackman and wife
Mary H. Ten Eyke
W. S. Thomas
Mary Von Stein
Isaac S. Weeks
E. P. Whitacre
' Forty -second Annual Meeting of the
Mrs. Henry Wieneke
Edna B. Wilson
Mrs. Joseph Walker
Martha S. Walker
NECEOLOGICAL EEPOET FOE PAST YEAE
To the Old Settlers Association of Johnson County, Iowa r
Again the frosts of winter have touched with the finger
of death the flowers and trees, covered the hills and dales-
with a shroud of snow, and converted the rippling streams,
into dead and silent masses of glittering ice.
Again the balmy air of springtime has uncovered the
snow clad hills, touched with life the dormant buds and
unlocked the frozen streams. Again the summer heat
hns clothed the earth in a mantle of green, and brought
back to us the flowers, the fruit and fields of waving-
grain. Again the shortening days, the receding sun and
smoky air reminds us that another year is past and soon
nil things will be touched with the deathlike hand of
winter. The list of Old Settlers who have died since
the last reunion is of unprecedented length, and contains,
the names of many long time members of the association
and those who have been prominent in business and so-
cial circles. As far as obtainable the ages are given.
M RS. J. M. IEISH
G. R, IRISH
Iowa City, August 20, 1908. Committee
Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 15
Mrs. Bridget Galvin
SEPTEM BER, 1907.
John N. Watson
Mrs. David Henry
Mrs. Catherine Matoush 75
John A. Hughes 8
3, 8m, 9d.
Mrs. Anna Weber
Mrs. Lillian White Grant
Mrs. John D. Colony
Mrs. John M. Fisher
Delbert E. Hawk
Geo. W. Bale
Mrs. John Thompson
J. E. Sullivan
Mrs. C. D. Wolf
Dr. M. B. Moon
James Monroe Adams
L. D. Porch
Mrs. Joseph Chadek
Mrs. Peter Huffman
Mrs. Ernest Landsberg
Miles K. Lewis
John Jones (Colored)
Mrs. Dora Zager
Mrs. Catherine Leslie
Mrs. Minnie P. Parmley 40
Mrs. Anna Eaton
Mrs. Mary E. Cambridge
Mrs. Minnie S. Schofield
Mrs. Martin Vevera
A. C. Carson
Mrs. Jessie H. Hartsock
Miss Annie Francis
•George A. O'Brien
Paul Ward (Colored)
Mrs. Catherine Gallager
j6 Forty -second Annual Meeting of the
Miss Louisa Biebesheimer
Mrs. Jennie G. Abbot
Mrs. Rose Tanner Hess
Mrs. James Cherry
James Unash, Sr.
Mrs. Harriett H. Breene
Mrs. Josephine Denter
Mrs. Elizabeth Alberhasky
Mrs. M. Fitzgerald
Mrs. Charles Bryan
Mrs. Frances Beszdek
Mrs. Samuel Manatt
Mrs. Catherine Schneider
Mrs. C. C. Swartzendruber
Miss Anna Floerschinger
Mrs. Barney Mattlmore
Mrs. Annie Weeks
Mrs. Mary Pudil
Mrs. Elizabeth D. Taylor
H. K. Simonton
Wm. H. Cotter
Mrs. Nancy Adams
Mrs. Margaret Champion
Mrs. C. Zimmerman
Mrs. Joseph A. Darner
Mrs. Ellen Noonan
F. L. Lewis
Mrs. Joseph Yanda
Miss Mollie Stoner
Bryan H. Dennis
Mrs. J, \V. Butler
Mrs. Marie Fischer
William C. Anthony
Mrs. Eliza B. Cadwalader
Mrs. Ada C. Nesmith
Mrs. Charles Lewis
Mrs. Bertha Dehner
Mrs. Peter Frantz
Mrs. Wm. Elliott
Mrs. Thomas Morrlseey
Mrs. Deborah Cowperthwaite
Richard a. Carleton
Dr. Oscar Kuntze
John K ubi k
Mr si. Margaret Run yon
S. S. Hess
Alfred G. Blair
Mrs. Thos. Gregory
Sarah A. Figg
Mrs. Anna Robinson Rule
Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 17
Mrs. Jonas Miller
Mrs. Finetta Schley
J. V. McRaith
Mrs. John Rohrig
Sfpnhpn T Yoflpr
Mrs. Mary Schlenck
lVTr<? P.athprinp Hawlpv
Mrs Sarah Holmes
Mrs. Michael Kelly
Samuel J. Hess
Mrs. Anna Prybil
James A. Borland
Mrs. Timothy Fairchild
Richard W. Whittaker,
Mary C. Myers
Emily Catherine Merrill
Mrs. Ellen Vanfleet
Mrs. John Carroll
Mrs. Geo. Dansdill
Samuel B. Shellady
F. J. Epeneter
Dr. 0. IN. r enows
Geo. W. Nelson
Mrs. Mary Peters
Mrs. Charles Dummer
Mrs. Wm. Harback
Mrs. Philip Omsler
j Uocyii on u 11 nit; y tri
6 r >
Mrs. J. F. Shepherd
Rev. Patrick Smyth
Mrs. Daniel Gillis
Miss Emily H. Starr
Mrs. Vienna V. Paul
John W. Jayne •
Mrs. M. K. Ahrens
Mrs. Dennis Kerrigan
Dr. James Rigg
Mrs. Mary J. Barrer
Albert J. Zenishek
Mrs. J. W. Fackler
The executive committee ordered the procuring and
publication of sketches of Philip Clark and Eli Myers.
The pictures will recall to a few of the members of the
association many events of the early times.
Eli Myers was born September 20, 1813, in Preble Co.,
Ohio. In search of a place to locate he visited the then
new settlements in Elkhart county, Indiana, in 1836.
There he formed the acquaintance of Philip Clark, who
like himself, was seeking a location for a home.
Learning that the Indians were about to sell and va-
cate a large tract of land west of the Mississippi river,
the two young men determined to examine the new
country. Procuring saddle horses and provisions they
made their way to the then four year old town of Chicago
where they found the infant city to be only a few frail
houses in the marshes at the mouth of a fever breeding-
Continuing westward they reached Fort Armstrong in
time to cross the river and witness the gathering of
the thousand warriors, orators and braves that met Gov-
ernor Dodge of Wisconsin at that point in September,
1836, to treat for the sale and surrender of the lands com-
prised in the Keokuk reserve. Among the many who
attended the treaty was John Gilbert, an Indian trader
stationed on the Iowa river and by his invitation Myers
and ( Mark extended their trip to his trading post and after
;m examination of the country they determined to locate
their homes in that vicinity and at once proceeded to
stake the boundaries of their prospective farms and
build upon each a cabin, thus becoming the first owners
of farms and houses in what is now Johnson county.
The land selected by Mr. Myers for a farm was about
one mile southeast Prom the trading house, and in the
Forty-second Annual Meeting of the
spring of 1837 there was turned the first furrow in the
county. In the month of May of that year breaking was
done for Philip Clark and Henry Felkner. Mr. Myers
improved his farm and retained its ownership for many
years. It was long known in Pleasant Valley as the Myers
In December, 1840, Mr. Myers was married to Miss
Sarah A. Kidder, the daughter of John M. and Lydia
Kidder of Seneca county, N. ~Y. Some years later he be-
came the owner of the south half of block one in the
county seat addition of Iowa City and there built a very
substantial brick residence.
In the spring of 1850 Mr. Myers and his fellow pioneer,
Philip Clark, with a splendid outfit of horse teams, left
Iowa City for a trip to the gold mines of California. Their
journey was long and eventful. They at once engaged in
mining but the long time friends were soon separated.
Mr. Myers was taken ill and died in Sacramento City,
October 23, 1850, at the age of 37 years. He was survived
by his wife and three daughters. Mrs. Myers continued to
reside in Iowa City for many years, and died at the home
of her daughter in Salt Lake in March, 1891.
In religion Mr. Clark was a Catholic. Mr. Myers was
a I T iii versa list. Both were democrats. Mr. Clark was
prominent as one of the early officers of the county. Mr.
Myers was an active and honored member of the commun-
ity but would never accept of public office. The finely
improved farms of the two pioneers were monuments to
their industry and skill as farmers and the respect of all
who knew them is their best epitaph.
G. ft. IRISH.
PHILIP CLARK — FOUNDER OF THE FIRST HOME
IN JOHNSON COUNTY.
One hundred and fifty-nine years ago Marquette floated
in silent wonder along what is now the eastern border of
Iowa, and seventy-seven years ago, or, in September, 1832,
the representatives of the United States and of the Sac and
Fox nation of Indians met upon the west bank of the
Mississippi river within the present limits of the city of
Davenport and negotiated a treaty by which the Indians
sold to the United States six million acres of land. The
tract of land was bounded on the east by the Mississippi
river and on the west by a line beginning on the north line
of Missouri and extending in a northeasternly direction
to the mouth of the Upper Iowa river and being about
fifty miles west of the Mississippi river throughout its
Within this strip of country the Indians reserved four
hundred square miles of land on the right bank of the
lower Iowa river near its mouth for their own use. That
body of land was known as the Keokuk reserve.
In September, 1836, over one thousand chiefs and
braves of the Sac and Fox Indians met Governor Dodge
of Wisconsin near the site of the meeting of 1832 and
negotiated a treaty by which the United States became
the owners of the Keokuk reserve.
The gathering at the treaty of September, 1836, was
remarkable in that it was composed of the greatest num-
ber comprising all of the great warriors and orators and
chiefs of the Sac and Fox nation that had ever assembled
to treat with the white men, and for the reason that at
that time the United States gave to Antonie Le Claire,
Forty-second Annual Meeting of the
who had acted as interpreter during the formation of the
treaty, two sections of land and this was the first trans-
fer of land to a private individual in Iowa.
The treaty of September, 1836, is memorable also for
the reason that then and there originated the first settle-
ment of Johnson county. As nearly as is known, about
1826, the American Fur Company established a trading
jDost on the Iowa river in what is now the northeast
quarter of section ten where a little stream empties into
the river from the east. John Gilbert was their agent
there for many years and with the Indians of this locality
he attended the treaty of 1836 and while there formed the
acquaintance of two young men who were in quest of a
place to locate homes. Mr. Gilbert invited them to come
with him to the trading post on the Iowa river, and see
for themselves the many advantages of that locality.
Mounting their horses the trader and his two guests took
the deep worn trail of the Indians and in due time reached
the trading house on the banks of the Iowa. Impressed
with the beauty of the landscape and the evident fertility
of the soil they located claims and proceeded to build
cabins upon the land they had selected for their future
Then as the frosts of autumn began to fall they, re-
turned to the settlements in northern Indiana to pass the
winter and prepare for removal to their Iowa homes in the
Early in May, 18:57, Philip Clark and Eli Myers reached
1 he homes selected by them the year before on the western
limits of the Black Hawk purchase, bringing' with them
tenuis and oxen, implements, seed for planting and food
to maintain them until crops could be grown. Having
Pe ted their tennis the breaking was started and by the
FOUNDER OF THE FIRST HOME IN JOHNSON COUNTY
Forty-second Annual Meeting of the
20th of May, 1837, each of the pioneers had planted upon
the fresh turned sod of their new homes ten acres of
corn and and a goodly acreage of potatoes and other
The farm selected by Mr. Clark was situated southeast
of the trading house and in after years was divided and
formed what was known as the Morford and Burge farms
of Pleasant Valley. As first staked out by Mr. Clark it
comprised about 480 acres.
Philip Clark was born in Ireland about 1803. Coming
to America he formed part of the wave of humanity that,
flowing ever westward, built their homes upon the lands
oi' the rapidly vanishing aborigines.
The western line of the Black Hawk purchase entered
what is now Johnson county near the southwest corner
of Liberty township and ran thence in a straight course
northeastwardly to a point in Cedar township where it
crossed Cedar river. All west of that line was Indian
land until October, 1837, at which time the Sac and Fox
Indians sold all their lands in Iowa. At the time Clark
and Myers made their location they were within one mile
of the Indian lands. Mr. Clark retained his first claim
until 1838, when he exchanged it for one further up the
Willi the increase of settlers came divided opinion as
in the iocatiou of a town site which in time would become
the county seat. One party favored a location west of the
river and they determined to name their town Osceola.
The other party, under the lead of Gilbert and Clark,
favored a town east of the river, and they selected upon
Indian land in what is now section 22 East Lucas town-
ship for a town site and obtaining consent of the Indians
Old Settlers Association, of Johnson County 25
they bni'lt thereon a small cabin and employed John Mor-
ford to live in it and hold the claim for them when the
Indians should sell and vacate the land.
After the treaty of 1837 the town site became govern-
ment land and Clark traded his farm located in 1836 for
the Jvicrford claim and proceeded to lay out a large town,
giving it the name of Napoleon. A court house was built
and on July 4, 1838, Napoleon became the county seat of
Johnson county. Philip Clark, after the location of the
territorial capital at Iowa City, converted the town of
Napoleon into a farm and for many years was one of the
foremost farmers and business men of the county. At
the second election of county officers, Mr. Clark was
chosen as one of the county commiscsioners, which posi-
tion ho held for several years. In January, 1840, he went
to the Dubuque land office for the county and filed a
pre-emption claim on the quarter section that had been
selected as the county seat. Later in that year he was
appointed to lay out the county quarter into blocks and
lots and in much of the early territorial and county bus-
iness and many of the stirring events of pioneer times
he took a prominent part.
In 1844 Mr. Clark married Miss Clarissa Lee. In the
spring of 1850 he gave his brother-in-law power of at-
torney; left his wife and son and his great farm of 740
acres in his keeping, and with Eli Myers started overland
for the gold mines of California. Soon after reaching
their destination Mr. Myers died, and with varying for-
tunes Mr. Clark worked in the mines until 1857, when
on horseback he made his way from Sacramento to Iowa
City to find his wife estranged, his great farm sold and
his home destroyed by the villiany of his trusted agent
and friend. After a long contest with a gang of thieves
and their employers he regained possession of his prop-
Forty-second Annual Meeting of th
erty. Some years later lie sold it and the early county
seat and the site of the. town of Napoleon became the
present farm of James McCollister.
Obtaining land in Newport township, Mr. Clark there
conducted a farm. Though partially blind and much bent
with age Mr. Clark remained active in mind and body up
to the time of his death which occurred at his home Sep
teniber 10, 1891, at the age of eighty-seven years.
It is not creditable that the man who first founded a
home within the county should rest in an unknown and
unmarked grave on land he gave for the use of the church
and a cemetery. G. E. IRISH.
GILBERT'S OLD TRADING HOUSE.
To Pleasant Valley township belongs the distinction of
"being the first commercial center of Johnson county, at
a time when trade consisted of barter with the Indians
for the pelts and furs that were the only products dealt
in; and also of being the starting point of settlement
within its borders. In it were held the first business meet-
ings and election of the early days. And there was cele-
brated the first marriage of white people in the county.
Also there was born the first white child in the county
and there occurred the first death of a white person.
In the summer of 1837, John Gilbert, having quit the
service as agent of the American Fur Company determ-
ined to start a trading post of his own and selecting a site
west of the line of the Black Hawk purchase upon Indian
land, he built for himself a trading house which stood
in the southwest corner of section thirty-five in East
The building was neatly constructed of round logs. It
consisted of two cabins twenty feet square and a roofed
space of twenty feet between them, making a structure
twenty by sixty feet with puncheon floors and clapboard
roof. For the permit to build on Indian territory Mr.
Gilbert gave to Chief Poweshiek two barrels of whiskey.
In that building on January 8, 1838, pursuant to notice,
the citizens of the county met to talk over the needs of
the settlement and petition the legislature for action in
several matters of importance. On motion Henry Felkner
was chosen chairman and Pleasant Harris, Eli Myers and
John Gilbert were chosen as a committee to draft resolu-
Forty-second Annual Meeting of the
tions expressive of the sense of the meeting. After con-
sultation, Judge Harris, made report as follows :
Whereas, A large number of persons have settled on
the Iowa river, on public lands in the vicinity of John
Gilbert's trading house and there is evidence that the
settlement will be greatly increased in numbers next
Whereas, There is great inconvenience for want of
roads, bridges and mail facilities, therefore,
Eesolved, That two persons be appointed by the chair-
man of this meeting whose duty shall be to proceed forth-
with to Burlington and use their influence with the leg-
islature now in session there to establish roads at differ-
ent points on the Mississippi river and memoralize con-
gress to establish a mail route from Burlington to the
trading post of John Gilbert, provide for a postoffice there*
and the appointment of a postmaster without delay.
John Gilbert and Pleasant Harris were appointed to go
to Burlington and they made the trip on foot. The snow
was a foot deep and weather very cold. Their mission
did not produce any immediate results. In the following
year Mr. Gilbert was appointed postmaster and his com-
mission readied him on March 6, 1839. Two days later
On .June L, L838, a second meeting of settlers was held
in the trading house at which they petitioned the legisla-
ture to organize the county of Johnson and establish the
seal of justice at or in the town of Napoleon. On June
22, the hill to organize the county and establish the seat
of justice at Napoleon was passed and the rival town
of Osceola was blotted out.
( )n May L3, L839, the first court held in Johnson county
GILBERT'S OLD TRADING HOUSE.
forty-second Annual Meeting of the
convened at the Gilbert trading house, Judge Joseph
Williams on the bench. The grand and petit juries were
called and the grand jury presented an indictment against
Andrew J. Gregg for horse stealing. On the motion of
T. S. Parvin, Wm. E. Austin was admitted as an attorney
and counsellor of the court. There being no further busi-
ness the juries were discharged and the district court ad-
On the next day the grand jury was recalled and sworn
as a United States grand jury for the territory of Iowa
and proceeded to find an indictment against Gregg for
passing counterfeit money; was then discharged and the
United States court adjourned.
The old trading house was not only the place of many
important business transactions in very early times, but
it was there that many romantic, pathetic and warlike
scenes were enacted. A short distance west of it was
Powesheik's town of about two thousand Indians. Gone
are the Indians and the hardy pioneers who pressed them
still farther to the west. The pictures of the buildings
wherein was planned the foundations of the early im-
provement of the county, where the claim association met
to form rules that were for a time the well enforced law
of the land; where the first towns were put upon the map,
and the early roads marked out; where the vanquished
warriors returned to report disaster and claim protection
of the whiles, where lived and died the first white citizen
and merchant to inhabit the county is a reminder of times
long passed, of changed conditions and of men long gone.
G. R. IRISH.
The old trading house after use us a store, court house,
and farmer's dwelling, was destroyed by fire in the early
Old Settlers Association of Johnson Couuty 3 1
A HUNTING ITEM.
Kecent investigation having resulted in the finding
of many of the remains of the buffalo in the western part
of the state has caused much discussion in regard to the
time when elk and buffalo were common in Iowa, and the
incident related by Mr. Hiram H. Ludington who with
Charles Mullan founded the city of Waterloo, is of in-
terest. He said that he came to Iowa in 1852, and deer
and elk were plenty in Blackhawk county at that time.
His discription of a hunt is as follows :
AN IOWA BUFFALO HUNT IN 1852.
"There were buffalo in scattered herds, and plenty of
beaver, otter, mink and other fur-bearing animals. Did
you ever dream of a buffalo hunt in Black Hawk county!
No? Well, I killed three buffaloes while we lived in
Hudson in the winter of 1852-53.
"It was along early in December, and I remember
that the first snow was on the ground. My brother-in-
law, a young man named John Lang, about seventeen
years old, who lived with us, and I had gone out to hunt
coons. We hunted along the Black Hawk to a point
which, I think, was about three miles west of Hudson,
near what is now the Sam Gibson place. At that place a
little creek flows into the Black Hawk. At that point we
saw a drove of buffaloes on the opposite side of the creek,
and at first we thought they were cattle, then it struck
us that they might be bears. I said to my brother-in-
law, Tou hold the dogs and I will investigate and see
what sort of animals they are. '
' * I went up onto the ice to a place where I could crawl
up on them and, after I had worked myself along for some
distance in the snow, I raised up, but could see nothing.
Forty- second Annual Meeting of the
Finally about ten feet away from where I was, I saw a
buffalo in a thicket of hazel brush. I got a shot at him
and he fell. Then I fell to loading again as fast as I
could, but the buffalo got up and finally managed to get
away. By this time I got sight of a buffalo cow on a
side hill, and I shot her, the ball entering her eye. She
fell over and rolled down into the creek, or rather onto
"I saw several other buffaloes about six or eight rods
away and I fired at a large bull. He didn't appear to pay
very much attention to the shot and so I loaded and gave
it to him again, this time using two balls. He switched
around as though he didn't like the dose and this time I
saw that the herd was getting a trifle uneasy. Just then
another one jumped out broadside toward me and I shot
him through the heart. He fell and expired immediately.
All this time I had failed to notice that I was directly in
the trail that the buffaloes had taken to reach the spot
where they were. I observed this fact, however, in a few
moments, when the whole herd came charging down to-
ward where I stood. I saw a jack oak tree a short distanc
from me and I made for it. I got there when the buffa-
loes were about a rod and a half away, and — well, I
climbed that tree, and I wasn't very slow about it either.
As they went past me I couldn't shoot any of them, be-
cause there was no cap on my rifle.
"There were twenty-eight buffaloes in the herd and I
gol 1 wo of them. I found afterward that the reason I did
not gel more was because I had been shooting too high
to reach their vital parts. I had been accustomed to
hunting deer and knew very little about killing buffaloes.
I shot in all twenty eight times, or once for each member
of the herd, though 1 did not shoot at all of them.
Sometimes I used two halls in my rifle and sometimes
Old Settlers Association of Johnson Comity 33
' 1 The next day a buffalo calf came to the place where I
had killed the cow and I got that. The day after John
Virden and I went up to the forks of the Black Hawk,
about five or six miles, and we got another, but that was
the last we saw of the herd, and it is probable that was
the last herd of buffaloes that was ever in this section.
A few days after a party who was going from what was
known as Hardin City to Cedar Falls, came across the
large buffalo that I had wounded. He had got separated
from the rest of the herd and was so badly hurt that they
killed him by knocking him on the head. ' '
A LONG TIME EESIDENT OF THE STATE.
An article appearing in the Des Moines Capital, dated
Indianola, ascribed to a graybeard of that place the honor
of having lived longer in this state than any other person.
He stated that he came here in 1836. Mrs. Emily Eicord
of this city has lived in the state since 1834 and in the
county since 1840. Mrs. Eicord is well known here. The
Indianola correspondent to the Capital made a poor guess.